A Steady Stream Of Foreign Fighters Is Increasingly Vital To Syrian Rebels


Photo: Flickr/FreedomHouse

The other day we detailed how the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime may have purposely allowed rebel advances to consolidate resources and force the opposition to administrate the suffering cities and towns while government planes drop bombs on bread lines.The tactic has shown signs of working — rebels are losing civilian support because of looting, arbitrary detainments and lack of basic necessities — but Syria expert Joshua Landis told Syria Deeply that it ultimately won’t work since the 22-month conflict has become a battle of attrition.

The reason is simple: while regime troops can’t easily be replaced, rebels are drawing from a large pool of willing fighters — many of whom are jihadists — from Syria and abroad.

The most obvious example is, Jabhat al-Nusra, a highly effective Islamic fighting force that has extensive ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and has grown to 5,000 fighters.

Landis, who serves as the director of the centre of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said that the steady influx of fresh rebel fighters will make it “very difficult for the regime to hold on to Damascus.”

So while the regime has successfully barricaded itself into the city centre for now, Landis believes that the strategy “will be devastating to the regime” in the long run.

SEE ALSO: Assad Made A Brilliant And Brutal Move To Beat Back Syrian Rebels

Why Aleppo and Damascus Are Doomed

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